Weekly Reading Summary: June 22-June 28, 2020

The Economist [Fri, 12 Jun 2020]
As a rule, someone whose failings were subordinate to their claim to greatness should stay, whereas someone whose main contribution to history was baleful should go.

By 2016 more than a fifth of humankind was living in cities of 1m people or more. The largest 300 metropolitan areas now generate half the world’s GDP and two-thirds of that GDP’s growth.

Edward Glaeser, an economist at Harvard University, has shown that urban density increases workers’ productivity and minimises their carbon footprints.

The Economist [Fri, 05 Jun 2020]
The army kills its enemies. Police are supposed to serve and protect Americans without violating their civil rights—and to face consequences for violating those rights.

if today’s protests slide into persistent rioting, as in 1968 after Martin Luther King’s assassination, the harm they cause could be felt most keenly in African-American districts. Those people who can leave will. The left-behind will be worse off, as home values plunge and jobs and shops disappear. The police may withdraw, leading to an increase in crime, which in turn may eventually bring more violent policing. The scars will be visible for decades.

In a presidential election, fear often beats idealism. Law and order helped Richard Nixon beat Hubert Humphrey in 1968. It could work again.

The Economist [Fri, 29 May 2020]
it seems likely that infection by people who have not, or not yet, developed symptoms accounts for about a third to a half of cases.

East Asian countries’ success in controlling the disease argues in favour of masks. In many of their cities, masks have been worn for years to protect against pollution or disease, so people covered their faces as soon as they got wind of covid-19. In the West mask-wearing is alien. And in all of the countries where mask-wearing is common practice, the epidemic was swiftly suppressed.



从地摊经济运动,想起一则经济学法则:拇指法则(Rule of thumb)。它的经济学解释是:“拇指规则”是指经济决策者对信息的处理方式不是按照理性预期的方式,把所有获得的信息都引入到决策模型中,他们往往遵循的是:只考虑重要信息,而忽略掉其他信息。管理学,经济学和教育学中经常把“拇指规则”引申为一种试探法、经验法、启发法(heuristics)。

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